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Eyesign Instruction



Lesson 1.

Eyesign study in racing pigeons is at the best of times a confusing and is at the very least, a subject which has sparked more argument and difference of opinion than any other subject related to the racing of pigeons.

Many theories and versions continually circle this subject, so much so that it is nearly impossible to know what to believe and whom to believe. There are some pigeon racers who totally dismiss the eye concept as being a basis for determining a pigeon's ability as a racer, breeder or even both.

But many eyesign enthusiasts use the method to measure and determine a racing pigeon's ability for quite differing reasons.

So which is right? The enthuisiasts or the sceptics. When looked at, many pigeon racers would generally agree that a pigeon with a clear, healthy eye that virtually jumps out at the observer, would generally be a pigeon in prime condition and from quality breeding stock.

Many of the modern strains of racing pigeons found these days, carry genetic material or DNA, which has been brought through because of close inbreeding and line breeding for quite a few generations. A very good example of such in breeding or line breeding, would be the Janssen family of racing pigeons.They quite often carry a pearl eye with blue, silver or mauve colour.

The Meulemans sub family (based on the Janssen family anyway) have the heavy pearl eye with the thick black adaptation rings. Another good strain to mention are the Cattrysse. These more often than not, carry the royal gold and the crimson colouring in the eye.

These are but only three examples, with many more families having their own special characteristics. I have included some basic images which I first drew for my book back in 1988, to help to show what makes up a pigeons eye. I am sorry that that they are a bit scratchy, my scanner is a bit basic

The first image, Image 1.shows the five main circles which make up a pigeons eye. Of course there are another five sub-circles, which exist, but I won't confuse you new new enthusiasts with pontification and showing off my superiour knowledge of the subject. The first circle that we'll look at is the pupil.

The pupil should be the same all the way around and it should dilate when presented with different arrays of light. The next circle is the number two circle. It is sometimes called the adaption circle. This circle comes in variable widths and shades of black and gray.

Within this circle, the observer will find majority of tellable eye sign.

The third circle of the eye is the colour circle. The colour circle can be any amount of differing colours, but the irridescent colours are the ones to look out for, especially when selecting for breeding.

Circle number four is the iris. This circle also comes in many different colours ranging from light yellow, through reds to a deep crimsony colour.

The fifth circle is the last circle. It may appear to be the same colour as the adaption circle or the colour circle.

Image 2.
A typical racing eye, notice how the adaptation circle does appear to be very thin around the pupil.

Some very good sprint and middle distance pigeons carry lightning- like lines which appear to be jumping from the centre of the pupil into the adaptation circle.

These are better known to eyesign enthusiasts and experts alike, as the speed lines. A good example of this is shown in Image #4 . The iris of a racer can also suggest its capability to race long distances.

If the fifth circle, the outer one that is, joins the second circle, then the colour circle, the better the racing capabilities of that pigeon would be.

The lighter and smoother the colour, the more suited to sprint racing. But the more jagged the circle is and the deeper in colour it is, suggests that the pigeon is better suited for long distance racing over rough terrain.

When one looks at Image 3.
The breeding pigeon's eye varies very differently to that of the racing pigeon.

Most pigeons with dominant breeding eyes, have a tendency to have eyes which are more metalic in colour.The adaptation ring must show half circles or wiry strings inside them. These are what are commonly known as the breeding lines.

The iris must also show good ridges, with the outer circle breaking through to line up with the adaptation ring.

Looking at Image 4., this is the dual purpose which would be the preferred pigeon to have in one's cage, because this type of pigeon is the one which is most suited to any amount of racing and breeding.

This type of eye mostly carries equal amounts of breeding and racing characteristics.

If one looks within the adaptation circle in the above image #2, one will of course notice how thick and dark the adaptation circle appears in the bottom right hand corner.

The thickness of this area suggests what the pigeon's racing capability is.

Moving to the top left corner of the image, one will observe the breeding lines which appear in what appear to be, half circles.

This also suggests the pigeon's breeding abilities. This is a typical multi- purpose pigeon. This concludes the first lesson of eye sign basics, but do remember that eyes alone don't win races.

Everything else must come in to play. A quality pedigreed background, physical fitness, motivation and most importantly the pigeon racer himself.

The contents of this page are derived from my book,
The Pigeon's Eye by Ken Oath (1988)

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for any purpose whatsoever - Ken Oath 2005

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